Director – Kathryn Bigelow

The Body

The real life events of one of the most crucial race riots in american history known as the Detroit Rebellion. The film revolves around the incident that took place among police officers who infiltrated Algiers Motel July 25th 1967. This confrontation resulted in three black men being killed and beatings to seven other black men and two white women. The aftermath resulted in five straight days of looting and rioting on 12th street causing numerous injuries and deaths.

Nose Candy

“Burn this motherfucker down!”

“This is Detroit this aint nothing new to us”

“In a time of hate love is more important. It’s the most important”

“You think we are bluffing this is Detroit we don’t bluff”

“I see what you’re doing im not going to cause any trouble but I am not going to lie down for you either”

“The song is more than words on a page music is what you put into it and you can make that whatever you want it’s what you feel.”

Style Points

  • Jacob Lawrence animation during the opening sequence
  • Radio jockey describing events
  • Actual footage and newspaper headlines
  • Documentary style with constant camera movement
  • Multiple good close ups on hands
  • Pictures of dead body aftermath in hotel

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image parlemag.com

Role Play

Starring John Boyega, Will Poulter, Jason Mitchell, Algee Smith and Anthony Mackie.

The acting in this film was outstanding and felt that it added so much substance and emotion to this film that lacked soul.

This was the best I have ever seen Will Poulter. Normally seeing him in more pg films it was kind of odd initially seeing him as a corrupt cop but he definitely upped his game for the role. Similar to the Revenant this could help serve as a breakthrough to the next phase of his career.

Algee Smith was really good here. I thought similar to his performance as Ralph in the New Edition Movie and now as Larry Reed. He has frontman star power and really displayed that in this film as well as sympathy in his low spots.

Money Shot

Melvin Dismukes one of the black men that was interrogated takes the stand to confront the police officers who brutally beat and murdered his friends that night. As Dismukes  is being cross-examined by the officers lawyer his personal credentials start being attacked. Dismukes stands up to the disrespect and delivers the powerful statement “You see a black man in court and you assume im the one on trial, they killed my friends man!”

Final Touch

Talk about not reading the room. Even though this is the 50th anniversary of the tragic events that took place in Detroit with all of the racial tension going on in the country this film just couldn’t come out with any worse timing. I also thought the title of the film should not have been Detroit. Just because this was one of the most horrific hardships that took place. I don’t believe this controversy describes this prestigious city as a whole. The performances were very admirable. The style of Detroit is creative with the documentary approach and also depicts very raw and uncomfortable images especially during the police beat down scenesat the hotel.

The biggest controversy that I hear surrounding this film is that is it appropriate for a caucasian film director in this case Kathryn Bigelow to depict stories of african american struggles. As a black man I personally do not mind and actually did not in this instance as long as the storytelling is accurate and properly researched. Some aspects may seem racist if you reach such as the praying interrogation scene. One of the cops yelling “You all love that gospel shit.” was harsh. There are just tribulations that other races no matter how hard they try are not going to be able to identify with no matter how much they are studied.

My only issue with Detroit is that it lacks feeling. It is a basic A to Z remittance that took place during the uprising shot like a documentary. So this film should have just been a documentary. Talk about bad endings, Larry Reed gave up on his dream to be a singer, The police involved in the incident walked without repercussions and majority of these racial inequality problems in 1960’s Detroit still exist in today’s society. I guess as a traditional film lover I would have liked to see a revelation such as Detroit became stronger after this event or the people involved have now transformed and are now in better situations. The interrogation and hotel ambush scenes linger on as opposed to dissecting the riots or racial tension as a whole and the multiple circumstances that culminated to the rebellion. This film is an informative viscous sketch of one of the most unfortunate blows to the city in a battle that is still being fought. Detroit vs everybody.

– Caleb Harris

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